Monday, January 12, 2009

New book a celebration of the Red Desert

Red Desert: History of a Place, edited by Annie Proulx with photos by Martin Stupich, was released in December by the University of Texas Press in Austin.

The book had its genesis at an exhibition of Stupich’s Red Desert photos at the University of Wyoming Art Museum. The exhibit culminated in the Art Museum’s Red Desert Symposium in fall 2007. It was one of the best and most enlightening events I’ve attended in my 18 years in Wyoming.

Here’s an excerpt from Annie’s introduction:

It is our hope that this book will encourage naturalists, historians, graduate students, and Wyoming residents to venture into the Red Desert and discover for themselves the microhabitats, curiosities, and beauty of what remains in this little-known place, that they will observe for themselves the new roads and attendant dust storms, notice the biomass of halogeton, Russian thistle, cheatgrass, and other invasive weeds along those roads that come with soil disturbance. It is easy to blame all the changes in the Red Desert on energy extraction work, but that is the narrow view. There are countless Red Deserts in this world. Jack States touched the larger problem when he said, "Undeniably much of the pristine Red Desert ecosystem is imperiled not only by resource hungry corporations fueled by a resource hungry populace (that includes sanctimonious environmentalists), but also by inexorable global warming and extinction of species. To me the issues we face in the Red Desert are not that different from any other aspect of global environmental crisis spawned by a burgeoning human population."

"Red Desert: History of a Place," ISBN: 978-0-292-71420-5$50.00, hardcover with dust jacket 10 x 8 in.; 412 pp., 72 color illus. in section; 5 b&w illus., 9 maps, 8 tables 33% website discount of $33.50 at

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